Travellers looking to bag last-minute deals could end up paying more than 11x the advertised price
- The cost of flights, train fares and ferry tickets have been found to increase by as much as 1000% when booked last-minute
- Travel companies advertise low “teaser” prices online but customers may find the best rates are often in short supply
– The ‘advertised price to booking cost ratio’ was higher when searching for next-day tickets but remained stretched a week in advance
Travellers wishing to bag a last-minute deal from airlines, train companies and ferry operators could be paying as much as 11 times the advertised price when searching online.
New research conducted by Shawbrook Bank reveals the advertised price for flights booked just a few days in advance could rise by more than 1000% when customers come to book online.
The cost of booking a plane ticket to Lodz, Poland was advertised for £19.99 by one airline although the actual price of a ticket for the following day, before add-ons or surcharges, was as high as £221.33.
Even if you’re not looking for that last minute deal and searching for flights a week in advance, the price of tickets remained highly inflated, suggesting the best fares are in short supply.
Rail passengers are also being misled over the true cost of fares as advertised ticket prices increase by more than 500% in some cases when booked online.
The cost of a single ticket to Paris Gare du Nord from London St Pancras was advertised as starting “from £29.00.” However, fares for travelling the next day cost £191, more than 558% above the advertised price.
While the research found cheaper prices for bookings made a week in advance, fares were still 420% more expensive than advertised.
This pricing tactic is also luring in Brits planning a getaway by ferry to Europe. The cost of travelling to Caen from Portsmouth was advertised from “£85 each way” but bookings rose by 4.5 times the “teaser” price.
The price of a ticket was cheaper when booked a week in advance but some were still found to be 82% higher than the price advertised.
Paul Went, Managing Director of the consumer division at Shawbrook Bank says:
“Teaser pricing is a marketing ploy that understandably causes frustration to some consumers and in the case of travellers the difference between the advertised price for flights, trains and ferry journeys, and the true cost of a ticket can be stark. The risk is that by advertising cheaper rates online brands will frustrate and potentially alienate customers who expect greater parity with what they’re then asked to pay.
“At Shawbrook Bank we have been campaigning for some time for greater transparency over pricing in the personal loans market, calling for lenders to be more upfront from the outset to avoid misleading and confusing borrowers.
“Moreover, we would like to encourage brands in other sectors to consider whether the marketing tactics they use to attract customers may also lead to consumers feeling a sense of frustration. Hopefully raising awareness of this issue we will act as catalyst for change and encourage brands to take a different approach to their online pricing models.”
 Price of a one-way ticket from London Stanstead to Lodz on February 15th 2019 when booking on February 14th 2019
 Price of a single ticket from London St Pancras to Paris du Gard on February 15th 2019 when booking on February 14th 2019
 Price of a ticket from Portsmouth to Caen on February 16th 2019 when booking on February 15th 2019